Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: Lawyer Disbarred in Azerbaijan After Filing Torture Complaint

November 27, 2017

Yalchin Imanov.

When a lawyer files a complaint alleging his client was beaten in custody, you would expect it to lead, at best, to justice for the victim, or at worst, to inaction.

In Azerbaijan, that’s sadly not the worst possible outcome. Unless something changes, prominent human rights lawyer Yalchin Imanov is at imminent risk of disbarment for publicizing the beating of his client in custody.

A practicing lawyer and Bar member since 2007, Imanov has defended the rights of many government critics, including award-winning investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, and several imprisoned opposition members.

In early August 2017, after visiting his client, Abbas Huseynov, in Gobustan prison, Imanov gave interviews to media outlets, saying his client was repeatedly beaten and tortured by the prison staff and put in punishment cells under inhumane conditions. The lawyer reported that multiple bruises were visible on Huseynov’s body, and he could hardly sit and had difficulties walking.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/27/lawyer-disbarred-azerbaijan-after-filing-torture-complaint

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/yalchin-imanov

http://www.nopoliticalprisoners.org/en/report-and-news/news/663-azerbaijan-human-rights-lawyer-yalchin-imanov-at-risk-of-disbarment.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/12/azerbaijan-new-blow-for-justice-as-lawyers-excluded-from-trials/

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Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan Moves to Drastically Cut Number of Lawyers

November 8, 2017

The Azerbaijani parliament has approved amendments to the country’s civil code that would effectively bar roughly 90 percent of the country’s legal professionals from practicing law. From EurasiaNet.

The amendments, adopted on 31 October, require presidential approval before they go into effect. They would give the state-controlled bar association complete control over the legal profession. Observers, as well as members of the legal community, characterize the move as the latest and most decisive step in an escalating crackdown on the country’s few remaining human rights lawyers.
Less than 24 hours after Azerbaijan’s parliament ratified the changes, several lawyers reported being summoned to their local police stations, where they were told they were no longer licensed to practice law and would be subject to arrest or fines if they continued.
The amendments herald the end of a two-tiered legal system that Azerbaijan adopted under pressure from its fellow members in the Council of Europe. Azerbaijani lawyers are either vəkillər, licensed bar members who pass a series of written tests and a highly politicized oral examination, or hüquqşünaslar, registered lawyers who have not passed the bar but, until now, have been entitled to represent clients in all non-criminal courts.
Under the amendments, an estimated 8,000 registered lawyers stand to be barred from representing clients in any Azerbaijani court, leaving a nation of nearly 10 million people with only 934 registered legal professionals. At roughly nine lawyers per 100,000 people, that would be a ratio that is 18 times lower than the European average, and by far the lowest figure of any Council of Europe member.

http://www.tol.org/client/article/27326-azerbaijan-human-rights-lawyers-law-idps.html

https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/society/26215

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=4fbb3e64-c89d-44ac-a165-339f854bd74b

http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/41570/

http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/41545/

https://www.icj.org/azerbaijan-briefing-paper-on-new-legislation-restricting-court-representation-by-lawyers/

https://www.civilrightsdefenders.org/tag/yalchin-imanov/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/yalchin-imanov-suspended-practising-pending-trial

China/Turkey/Azerbaijan/Russia etc: Joint Civil Society Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors

September 5, 2017

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

Dear members of the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate,

dear members of the IAP,

In the run-up to the annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Beijing, China, the undersigned civil society organisations urge the IAP to live up to its vision and bolster its efforts to preserve the integrity of the profession.

Increasingly, in many regions of the world, in clear breach of professional integrity and fair trial standards, public prosecutors use their powers to suppress critical voices.

In China, over the last two years, dozens of prominent lawyers, labour rights advocates and activists have been targeted by the prosecution service[1]. Many remain behind bars, convicted or in prolonged detention for legal and peaceful activities protected by international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Azerbaijan is in the midst of a major crackdown on civil rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, imposing hefty sentences on fabricated charges in trials that make a mockery of justice[2]. In Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey many prosecutors play an active role in the repression of human rights defenders, and in committing, covering up or condoning other grave human rights abuses[3].

Patterns of abusive practices by prosecutors in these and other countries ought to be of grave concern to the professional associations they belong to, such as the IAP. Upholding the rule of law and human rights is a key aspect of the profession of a prosecutor, as is certified by the IAP’s Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors, that explicitly refer to the importance of observing and protecting the right to a fair trial and other human rights at all stages of work[4].

http://www.omct.org/monitoring-protection-mechanisms/urgent-interventions/2017/09/d24513/

http://www.defendersorviolators.info/petition-iap-2017

http://www.ecns.cn/2017/09-05/272268.shtml

https://www.opendemocracy.net/harry-hummel/prosecutors-human-rights-defenders-of-violators

http://www.iap-association.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Association_of_Prosecutors

Turkey/Azerbaijan/ICJ: Threats to independence of judges and lawyers; backsliding on violence against women (UN statements)

June 12, 2017

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today highlighted judicial corruption and threats to judges and lawyers in Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as regressive steps on violence against women in the United States of America and Russian Federation.

The statement, delivered during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, was as follows:

“The ICJ warmly welcomes the new Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers. As he has highlighted, ensuring judges are accountable for corruption and human rights violations, while respecting judicial independence, should be a global priority. Our Practitioners’ Guide on Judicial Accountability, published last year, should be of particular use to the Rapporteur and other actors in this regard.

Several situations serve as stark examples of other issues raised in his report. In Turkey, recent constitutional amendments give the President and Parliament control over the judiciary’s governing body. This has undermined the judiciary’s independence, already threatened by the mass dismissal of judges and the state of emergency. Lawyers and legal scholars, among others, are routinely dismissed or threatened by the authorities.

In Azerbaijan, the Bar Association is not independent and does not protect its members against undue interference with the exercise of their professional duties. Rather, it often serves as a tool of retaliation against independent human rights lawyers, including through disbarment proceedings that contravene international standards.

We would ask the Special Rapporteur for his views on the role his mandate can play in these and similar situations.

The ICJ also welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.”

https://www.icj.org/hrc35-srijl-srvaw/

Cameroon/Turkey/Azerbaijan: UN side event “The independence of the legal profession”

April 5, 2017

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On 16 March 2017 the Law Society, making use of its ECOSOC consultative status, organised a side event with Lawyers for Lawyers on “The independence of the legal profession” at the United Nations in Geneva.

The side event was held in the margins of the 34th Human Rights Council session and was co-sponsored by the Missions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Paraguay and Australia.

Mr Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, appointed in December 2016, was the keynote speaker. It was Mr García-Sayán’s first public speech in that capacity. He outlined the importance of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and emphasised the principle that lawyers should be able to practise their profession independently, without fear of external interference and/or intimidation, and without being identified with their clients. Mr García-Sayán also highlighted some priority areas, which he would be exploring further during his mandate, such as corruption and the role played by non-state actors in undermining the rule of law and the independency of the judiciary.

Lawyers from Turkey, Cameroon and Azerbaijan also shared their experiences and extensively discussed the serious challenges facing the legal profession in their respective countries.

http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/human-rights/news-and-events/un-side-event-the-independence-of-the-legal-profession/5061260.article

Azerbaijan: Activists targeted by ‘government-sponsored’ cyber attack

March 10, 2017

Azeri human rights activists, journalists and political dissidents have been the targets of a fraudulent and sustained ‘spear phishing’ campaign using emails and Facebook chat, apparently aimed at gaining access to their personal information and private communications, said Amnesty International in a new report launched today.

The investigation reveals that the attacks, which can compromise passwords and contacts, have been directed at various government critics for the past 13 months. Victims told Amnesty International they believed the Azerbaijani authorities are behind the attacks.

“Our research reveals that a targeted and coordinated cyber campaign is being waged against critical voices in Azerbaijan, many of whom are long-time victims of government repression,” said Claudio Guarnieri, Senior Technologist at Amnesty International.

“The malware used has been designed with the express intention of gathering as much private information as possible about a target. Given the profiles of those targeted, it is not hard to see why victims believe the authorities are responsible.”

One victim was the lawyer and human rights activist Rasul Jafarov, who was alerted to the attack when he received a phone call from a colleague in October 2016 warning him that he had been sent an email and attachment from an address very similar to his.

A former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Rasul Jafarov has previously spent more than a year and a half in prison on trumped-up, politically motivated charges stemming from his human rights work.

He told Amnesty International: “I believe that [the Azerbaijani authorities] are trying to closely watch everyone who is criticizing the government, who is implementing different activities, or projects or campaigns which the government doesn’t like.”

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/azerbaijan-activists-targeted-by-government-sponsored-cyber-attack/

Azerbaijan: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Elchin Sadigov in Azerbaijan

January 30, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada* expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Elchin Sadigov in Azerbaijan.

Elchin Sadigov is a prominent criminal lawyer in Azerbaijan whose clients include several prisoners of conscience and other individuals who have faced politically motivated charges.

It has come to our attention that on November 2, 2016, Elchin Sadigov was threatened by an investigator from the Main Organized Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of the Interior after he disclosed, in an interview, information about the alleged torture of his client, journalist Fikret Farmazoglu, by MOCD staff. Fikret Farmazoglu is currently detained at the MOCD. Reports indicate that the investigator told Elchin Sadigov that he would “pay a high price” for accusing the MOCD of torture.

Since the November 2, 2016 incident, Elchin Sadigov and his family have faced additional harassment and intimidation, including a media article accusing Elchin Sadigov of having an affair with Fikret Farmazoglu’s wife, the hacking of his Facebook page and the creation of fake accounts using his name. In addition, police interrogated Elchin Sadigov’s brother and asked for information about Elchin Sadigov’s wife and children. It is our understanding that police later told Elchin Sadigov that they had received a request to collect data about him and his family, but declined to disclose the reasons.

The Law Society is deeply concerned about Elchin Sadigov’s case. Reports indicate that there have been a growing number of cases of harassment, intimidation and persecution of human rights defenders and human rights lawyers by Azerbaijani authorities in recent years. We believe strongly that lawyers should be able to exercise their legitimate duties without fear for their lives, for their liberty and for their security.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503473&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503473 (FRANCAIS)